Provincial party leaders Kathleen Wynne, Patrick Brown and Andrea Horwath are scheduled to speak at the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference, which will take place in Toronto from December 21-24.
The conference is no stranger to controversy. In 2012, then Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau came under fire for participating in the conference when it came to light that IRFAN-Canada, one of the conference’s main sponsors, had its charitable status revoked by Canada Revenue Agency for using deceptive fundraising tactics to send nearly $15 million in donations to organizations with ties to the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
At that time, Trudeau was slammed by prominent moderate Canadian Muslims for participating in the event. Tahir Gora, director of the Canadian Thinkers’ Forum, called the convention an “international Muslim Brotherhood jamboree 4 Jihadis”. Salma Siddiqui, President of the Muslim Canadian Congress issued a press release, urging Trudeau to “stop pandering to the Islamists”.
“By attending the ‘Reviving the Islamic Spirit’ convention, Mr. Trudeau will be endorsing groups that have links to Hamas. He will also unwittingly validate homophobia and misogyny that is practiced widely by Islamists under the guise of multiculturalism. Those who advocate for the doctrine of Jihad and the imposition of Sharia should not have the backing or validation of any Canadian politician, let alone someone aspiring to lead the Liberal Party of Canada and who hopes to be one day the Prime Minister of this country”, Siddiqui wrote.
Some of the speakers at the 2017 convention include Dr. Yasir Qadhi, an American Muslim scholar whom the New York Times Magazine once called “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.”
In 2013, Qadhi posted a video to YouTube in which he said that “Mushirkun” (people who worship gods other than Allah) holds no value in the state of jihad. “The Mushrikun are nudges, they are filthy. They are filthy, a spiritual filthiness which can only be purified by the purity of monotheism (Islam). Allah calls the polytheists ‘nudges’ (filthy) … a filthy, impure, dirty substance.”
In his defence, Qadhi published a statement on the Rhodes College website in which he claimed that his words were heavily edited and taken out of context in an effort to smear his name, and that he never called non-Muslims “filthy”. However, according to experts, his views are well within the mainstream of the Salafist strain of Sunni Islam which is taught in hundreds of mosques across the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, a senior member of the Canadian Council of Imams has also previously said the non-Muslims have “internal filth”.
Another speaker at this year’s convention is Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda, whom Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) describe as a fundamentalist Texas Imam who is notorious for expressing anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and misogynist rhetoric. According to APT, Jangda has in the past defended the use of female sex slaves within Islam, reportedly expressed support for the killing of apostates and adulterers and claimed that a wife cannot refuse to have sex with her husband.
Both Qadhi and Jangda are instructors at AlMaghrib Institute.
On February 2, 2015, during a testimony in front of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Calgary-based Imam Sayed Sowarhardy, the head of Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism, described AlMaghrib as a gateway to radicalization.
Another speaker at this year’s convention is Dr. Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and co-founder of the anti-Israel organization Students for Justice in Palestine. Bazian leads anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a total academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel.
In November 2017, Bazian was condemned by UC Berkeley’s officials for re-tweeting a meme of an Orthodox Jew holding his hands in the air says: “I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & steal the land of Palestinians”. Even though Bazian subsequently issued a public apology stating that the meme does not represent his views, StandWithUs – a leading US pro-Israel advocacy organization – called it “blatant anti-Semitism.”
“While this incident is deeply disturbing, it is unfortunately not shocking. This professor has a long history of promoting bigotry. I’m glad the UC Berkeley administration spoke out now,” said Noa Raman, Pacific Northwest campus director for StandWithUs. “I hope this is just the beginning of them standing up against the hate Jewish students and others face on campus.”
According to Canary Mission, an organization which tracks anti-Semitism on university campuses, at an April 2004 rally held in San Francisco, Bazian called for an “intifada” [violent uprising] in the United States.
In one of Bazian’s most radical speeches, he claimed that “there were a large number of Zionists who were engaged with Nazi Germany”.